The Gunner Shaw Memorial Cross Country Race has a great reputation. Before I ran it, here’s what I knew about it: there’s a puddle, you’re going to be wet and it’s super fun! It also seems to be a West Van Run Crew favourite so I joined my friends this year for my first cross country race.
The Gunner Shaw route takes you around Jericho Beach Park and through various types of terrain including trails, grass, sandy beach, mud, and a good stretch of shin-high puddle. I did the 5k course which is 1 loop, the 10k is 2 loops. It’s mostly non-technical and flat but there are at least a couple of small hills that I wish weren’t there. At one point, we jumped over some sandbags and also a mud pile. One piece of advice, wear shoes with good traction that you don’t really care about dunking in water or mud.
It was held at the Jericho Sailing Centre, which is also the location of the post-race party. You could pick up the day before or on race day, which was what I did. There were also race day registrations and I overheard some people doing just that. It was a no-brainer. The entry fee was only $25 for either distance so why not? While there is no formal gear check, everybody left their bags in the main room where the food was to be served. Another bonus… the facility had showers, a necessity for this race.
How Did I Do?
It was cold and rainy, as per usual Gunner Shaw weather but it turned out to be not too bad. I only had 1 loop to do so I wasn’t too concerned about being wet 😛 I looked at this race as a flat trail run; however, I was surprised to see some hills at Jericho Beach Park. It also didn’t help that the sand kind of kicked my butt. It was my first time running in sand and it was difficult and took a lot out of me. Adjusting to different terrain tired me out quickly that I actually had to walk some of the short hills.
I was looking forward to the puddle all race and it exceeded my expectations. It was longer than I thought, probably a couple hundred meters, and it was fun running through it. There’s no escape, you were coming out wet and cold. The water got deeper and you really couldn’t tell what you’re stepping in. It was great fun and the highlight of this race. I ended with a time of 31:32 and I thought that was alright until I saw the standings. LOL It seems this race mostly attracts serious runners.
My friends did amazing though! Congrats to Shannon, Shannen, Misa, Samantha and Graham for placing in their age groups.
After the race, people gathered inside the Jericho Sailing Centre. There was a big spread of pizza, juice boxes, Hardbite chips (yum) and soup I believe? I didn’t have it but I seem to remember someone having it. For next year, I hope there will be more pizza… it seemed to go pretty quickly.
Organization – This race is well-organized by the Lions Gate Road Runners. The course had lots of marshals throughout and arrows. I also liked that they accepted race day registrations and that the price point is low.
Course – It’s mostly flat but the mixed terrain offers its own challenges, especially if you’re not used to it. A nice change from the usual road run.
Swag – No finisher medal but lots of great food. I would also consider the showers a nice perk.
Would I Do It Again? Yes!! I need to run better, now that I know what to expect.
Thanks to LGRR for a great experience. My first Gunner Shaw Memorial Cross Country Race was a success!
Did you run the race? Leave a review on BibRave!